Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Day 274
I was up early and packed quickly. At the main office I had to wait forever to get my boarding pass. I wasn't able to get it before because I didn't have my passport on me. It took so long that I was afraid that I might miss the boat. I really shouldn't have worried about this though.

The waiting area was packed and there were very few seats. When boarding finally began there was only one guy checking tickets an d 5 people at immigration. I as lucky and rather close to the front of the line. I could see that a lot of people were have rather long discussions with the immigration guys. I was worried that I might have some problems as well, but there were none. I was instructed to sit towards the front of the boat and pile my back pack by the emergency exit. In no time there was limited to no access to the emergency exit with all of the backpacks. Strangely all of the westerners were instructed to sit in the same area of the boat. I waited on the boat for quite a while. It was meant to leave at 9 but didn't depart until 10:30

They quickly put some very loud and very awful music on the screen. The air conditioner was turned up to arctic and I had to get my sleep sheet out of my bag, my jacket was too far buried. I hadn't eaten earlier because I was afraid that I would be late and I had thought I would be able to buy snacks on the boat so I had not stocked up. The only thing to buy on the boat was a cup of noodles. Later on they gave everyone some slightly stale cake.

The boat was pretty rocky and I don't know how I managed to keep my noodles down. I did manage to sleep a bit, bu t the volume on the tv kept waking me up. Several times two screaming little boys came running into our cabin and would climb over the vacant seats and backpacks. I think this is why pe ople put their kids on leashes.

After 7 hours the boat finally docked. It took a bit of time to get everyone out, but everyone who needed to buy a visa on the spot was able to skip the long immigration line. While I was waiting I met a few people from the boat. It didn't take long for me to get my shinny visa and they to get stamped into the country.

Right before I stepped outside I was directed to go straight to the waiting bus. Outside was a mob scene and I was told that the bus was full. I could see myself that there was exhaling room only. A man offered me a good price for a ride to Medan including an ATM stop. I told him that I needed to wait for my friends. I went back into the mob and managed to find some of the other people I had met on the boat. Another man tried to offer us a better price, but one of the people in my group had been told by a cop not to go with him. We stuck with the first guy.

When we were dropped off at the first hotel it smelled awful and we felt that it was over priced. The second place was the same. The third place the guy brought us to was the cheapest and the cleanest. It was just right. T o save money undercover Israeli Zoe and I shared a room. It was just under US $2 each. I say undercover because Israelis are not allowed into Indonesia, Zoe has a French passport though and most immigration officers don't bother to look at the place of birth when issuing visas. The other people in our group were recently married Brits Kieron and Kate and another traveling couple Dave and Samantha.

Once we had dropped our things off we headed to get some dinner. Over dinner the guy that had brought us to the hotel also tried to sell us a jungle trek. I declined because I have no business in the jungle and I didn't want to do anything that I knew would make me miserable.

After dinner we all took showers and then met for a beer. I was really enjoying chatting to everyone and I guess that I wanted to spend a few days with the same people. For unknown reasons I put in a deposit to go with everyone on the jungle trek. It wasn't peer pressure at all, just plan impulse on my part. Forget that, it was aliens. there could be no other reason I would do something like that. Damn aliens.

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